The International 10 Cinderella Story: Team Spirit claim the Aegis of Champions

by: Jeb Garganera || Photo credit: Team Spirit on Instagram ||

Team Spirit overwhelms PSG.LGD at the 10th ‘The International (TI)’ Dota 2 tournament grand finals, claiming the Aegis of Champions and the $18.2 million grand prize. The Eastern European team won the best-of-five Grand Final against PSG.LGD last October 17, 2021, in Bucharest, Romania.  

In the win or go home finale, Team Spirit allowed PSG.LGD’s undefeated Tiny-Lycan combo to play in exchange for the Undying ban. They won the game with relentless pressure from Yatoro’s Terrorblade, TORONTOTOKYO’s Ember Spirit, Mira’s Bane, Miposhka’s Winter Wyvern, and Collapse’s Magnus. 

Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov led Team Spirit’s bouts and took control of the matchup, concluding with 8 kills and 18 assists against PSG’s 2 deaths. Even after getting junked by Rubick’s counter pick on a game, Collapse still had the confidence to rally the team in the deciding game 5.  

Team Spirit began the finals against PSG.LGD with a clear strategy: ban Ame’s Monkey King and split up their Tiny-Lycan combo. With that, Team Spirit breezed through the first two games with Yatoro’s Naga Siren and Collapse’s Magnus.  

In the second game, PSG.LGD became more aggressive, forcing Spirit to play with a calmer Dota style. Miposhka, on the other hand, rallied his squad with his Bane, ensuring that they did not go into any precarious circumstances. Spirit turned a switch and powered their way to another Moksha victory.  

The Undying, who in Game 3 allowed Ame’s Spectre and NothingToSay’s Tinker to take overall control of the game, and in Game 4, provided PSG.LGD’s Mangus-Luna combo free reign under the safety of Tombstone— a champion that Team Spirit had no answer for.  

This jumbled draft failed to provide Spirit with a clear victory condition against a strong PSG.LGD core—led by Ame’s Luna and NothingToSay’s Kunkka— appeared to be unwinnable. The game took a while to get going, but LGD gradually built a lead and had their mojo flowing— until one team fight altered everything and demonstrated that Spirit was more than capable of standing their ground. 

After Spirit picked off Ame’s Tiny, LGD withstood what appeared to be a game-ending push, but there was nothing else they could do. They lost a fight in the Rosh pit, Ame died for the second time with no buyback, and Spirit rushed the Ancient and won TI10. 

The victory was a surprise. PSG.LGD appeared to be the most likely candidate—  making amends for its second-place finish in the 2018 tournament by winning its preliminary group and progressing to the grand finals without dropping a series. Meanwhile, Team Spirit had to battle its way through the lower bracket, dethroning two-time winner OG and edging Team Secret to earn a spot in the grand finals against PSG. LGD.  

The pro-gamers will walk away with $18,208,300.00 in prize money in addition to making history in the league. 

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